Engaging Aboriginal Families Affected by Allergies and Asthma: Identifying Gaps in Social Support and Developing Culturally Relevant Interventions for Educational Programming

Asthma Report CoverAsthma and allergies are the most common chronic conditions affecting Aboriginal children, yet they often receive inadequate support, services, and information to cope with these conditions and feel socially isolated as a result. There is a need for culturally appropriate interventions that provide children and families with the information and services they need to manage these conditions. CEHE Director Jeff Masuda and Senior Associate Heather Castleden were involved as principal investigators in a multi-site, community-based participatory research study conducted in Alberta, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia. The report Engaging Aboriginal families affected by allergies and asthma: Identifying gaps in social support and developing culturally relevant interventions for educational programming provides an overview of the study, which was undertaken to develop geographically accessible, culturally safe and appropriate, and innovative peer support programs for Aboriginal children with asthma and allergies and their families. Through this study, the support needs and intervention preferences of children with asthma and allergies and of their families were assessed, and culturally appropriate support interventions were designed and pilot tested in the communities. Families reported increased support and education as a result of their participation in the interventions. Community-based participatory research, conducted in collaboration with and for the communities in question, is an essential step towards fostering sustainable and culturally appropriate interventions.